Purse and Prejudice: QUEST FOR COOL

Friday, 1 July 2011

Hello and welcome to Purse and Prejudice- a new section of Beauty and the Bullshit that talks fashion and lifestyle.

It will be filled with lots of inspirations - pictures, moodboards and sensorial delights but for now, a little intro - see if it rhymes with yours. 



It is simple.
If you are in the quest of cool. Big chance is that you are not.

Because this is the cardinal rule of cool.
Substance over style.

Let me explain.

Have you ever experienced public speaking and you fret over how you come across, what you will wear, what poses you will take, what you will do with your hands and how people will see you? Nerve wracking innit?

And uncool too.
But once you get over yourself and get into the message you will deliver, that you will fashion yourself in a way that will help in the message being understood - then message takes possession of the messenger, your substance takes over style.

You will find that getting lost in the message, you forget about yourself and you think only of how you can make your audience understand, on how you can win them over to your point of view.
That is cool.

Allow me please to give you a concrete example.
No-grade glasses. WTF for?

Not unless you are Doogie Howser (which you are not, he is a fictitious character) who needs to make himself look older to be taken seriously so as not get in the way of the message- no-grade glasses are uncool.  (Ok, so Doogie doesn't wear glasses but you get the point)

Look who else are cool-
  • Jesus(the one who got crucified, not the one who tags along Madonna, the one who sings, not the one who had an immaculate conception),
  • Einstein (I mean, after you have heard the theory of relativity, would you really have sanity left to contemplate the hair? )
  • John Lennon
  •  Manny Pacquiao
These people have messages bigger than themselves.   Whether you buy that message or not, you have to respect the sincerity of their belief.

And the ones who are not:
  • Boy Bands
  • Justin Bieber (No, my dear niece Patreng, he is not!)
  • Kimora Lee Simmons (fabulous, which she is not anyway- is not a message)
  • Jlo (singer that can’t sing)

They are but marketing products, all style, no substance.
Successful? Perhaps.  Cool? Not.

So, bref, want to be cool? Get over yourself already.
Stand for something.

Not sure what it is you stand for?
Search for it. Meet people, try new things, be the lowly student of life.
But do not look for answers in your navel.* That is not cool.
*there is a beautiful word for it and I think that it should be used more in conversational language. Omphaloskeptic- someone who contemplates the meaning of the universe by staring at his own navel.  Gawd knows I have used this for my exs.
Now that we established priority of substance over style, here are some thoughts on how style can support your substance.

If you read style books (and I must have read them all! I am a sucker for them and I am thinking of reviewing them all here), you get mixed messages.

They will start of with a statement like “be yourself” or "that the only rule is that there are no rules" or some shit like that.

And then, they start bombarding you with rules and rules on rules and exception to the rules and rules of the exception.  What gives?

I think that there are 3 balancing acts which is up to you to decide on.

Blend In or Stand Out

Standing out is great! I love being overdressed and standing out and showing off my style (which is a combination of Mrs. Robinson, Amy Winehouse, Bianca Jagger, Jim Morisson, Iris Apfel and Jackie O- go figure). But consider this…
You get to observe and learn from people more if you make them comfortable in their own habitat. At times, have the confidence to blend in, be a local. Be just one of the crowd. .
It is easy to power play and stand out but it takes the utmost confidence to just blend in.

Beauty Vs Comfort

I am one to favor beauty over comfort.
For if i were to be honest, if i didn’t favor beauty, i will be in my adidas sweatpants and flipflops all day long.   Heck I might throw in some UGG Boots in winter for good measure.   And I will not wear make up.
And oh, i will also not be taking a bath.
On the other end of the spectrum, hell impossible to run in 4 inch heels at the airport, or carry a Chanel Ibiza bag in the favelas of Manila or wear mink in meeting my vegan unenlightened business colleagues.

What is your message? And how much comfort or beauty are you willing to sacrifice to deliver that message?  You be the judge, you set the rules.

Important Vs essential

An object is either important in helping you deliver your message or essential - it doesn’t play a part, you don’t care about it but you need it just the same.

If an object is important, buy the best you can afford as you cannot afford not to.

If it is essential, buy the cheapest generic shit out there. 
It is either Brunello Cuccinelli  or H&M, IKEA or Eames (No, I don't like Stark). 
Anything in between is superfluous and money not well spent.

So decide, which things are important and which are essential? 
Then, spend your money accordingly.

In the next posts, I hope to review concretely things that are essential and important and other things.
It will be all Purse and Prejudice.  I hope you stay around and we can be inspired together.